The UK government has announced new labelling requirements for some food products that move from Great Britain to Northern Ireland through the ‘green lane’.

The new ‘Retail Movement Scheme’ will be implemented in three different phases between October 2023 and July 2025.

Under this scheme, associated businesses in Great Britain will be required to put the individual product label ‘Not for EU’, on some food products before moving them through the green lane.

The government said that this labelling will ensure that “goods are not moved onwards into the EU”.

The retailers will be only be labelling the outer packaging of multipacks.

In case products are not individually labelled, it is mandatory for retail premises to display posters in their stores that clearly specify the products that cannot be sold or consumed in the EU.

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These rules are applicable to retail establishments across Northern Ireland.

The retailers can either write, print, mark, attach or emboss the labels to the product, box or shelf, ensuring that these labels are not hidden or covered by any other writing or pictures.

Another alternative is to label the box or crate without individual labelling. In the case of boxes, labelling can be put anywhere on the packaging, without covering any other required information.

Under Phase 1, which will come into effect this October, some dairy products and all prepacked meat and meat products along with meat packed on sales premises should have individual labels.

Phase 2 comes into effect a year after the initial phase from October 2024 and will require individual labelling for all milk and dairy products moving to Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, Phase 3 will need all additional food items such as fruit and vegetables, pizza, fish, pet food and composite, to be individually labelled, starting from 1 July 2025.  

The government is also providing ‘a 30-day transition period’ at the commencement of all three phases, helping retailers to sell their existing products without the need to relabel them.